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REARVIEW MIRROR


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Ward sale was big deal at $2M

The former estate included a pond where the Blaisdell Center is today

By Bob Sigall / Special to the Star-Advertiser

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:27 p.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011

star-advertiserThis pond was part of a 100-acre estate built by Curtis Ward on the grounds of what is now the Neil Blaisdell Center.

This body of water no longer exists. The picture was taken in central Honolulu on a private estate that is now long gone. It might look a little like the Ala Wai, but that is a few miles to the east. Where is it?

It's the former Ward Estate, on the grounds of what is now the Neal Blaisdell Center. It was called "Old Plantation" by Curtis Perry Ward and occupied more than 100 acres that stretched from Thomas Square to the waterfront.

Curtis Ward married Victoria Robinson in 1865. She was half Hawaiian and the sister of Mary Robinson Foster, who developed Foster Botanical Gardens.

The Wards built their estate in 1882. They had a Southern-style home, pastures for horses and cattle, flower and vegetable gardens, groves of coconut trees and a large pond fed by artesian springs.

The pond was about where the NBC parking structure is today and was a pleasant place for fishing, boating and picnics.

The estate was sold to the city for $2 million in 1958. The check written to the family made news because it was the largest check the city clerks had ever seen.

The family opened Ward Warehouse in 1975 and Ward Centre in 1982.

The architects of the then-named Honolulu International Center created a water feature on the Diamond Head side of the arena, reminiscent of the larger pond the Ward family once enjoyed.

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Bob Sigall, author of the "Companies We Keep" books, looks through his collection of old photos to tell stories each Friday of Hawaii people, places and companies. Email him at Sigall@Yahoo.com.






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